As a hipster engineer with a bike, he might as well be an internet meme. But this week’s Ego, Rudra Pampati, doesn’t want to be reduced to his style. He’s a member of Hexagon and the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board. Oh, and he’s an actual Duke of Hazard.
RP: It’s what the show Dukes of Hazzard was based on. I became an honorary Duke of Hazard when I was in high school. It’s just like people that volunteer around the community and stuff like that. I have a certificate.
Street: What are your fashion influences?
RP: Hipsters, preps and the occasional homeless person.
Street: What’s the best tip for bikers on Locust?
RP: Don’t ride from 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. But if you do, stay low, conservative and vigilant. Keep a sharp eye out for the bright yellow. Also watch out for toes, texters, bag swingers and the stutter–steppers — people who quickly turn on their heels.
Street: Why did you decide to study engineering?
RP: I just wanted to fit in with all the cool kids who liked doing Calculus.
Street: If you were an element from the Periodic Table, which would you be and why?
RP: Helium. I would make people sound ridiculous and would never have to take them seriously.
Street: What’s your latest discovery?
RP: I recently got hooked on the show Breaking Bad. It’s so awesome. I like the chemistry of it, too. He cooks meth using the same stuff I use in the organic chemistry lab.
Street: Do you feel like you have the expertise necessary to…
RP: Make crystal meth? No.
Street: But could you figure it out?
RP: Yeah, I do well in orgo lab. I make some good product.
Street: Who or what is your alter ego?
RP: There’s the extremes, and like most of the time I chill in the middle. I don’t want to go with the boring one, which is me just being able to just relax and be reserved and go a couple days without seeing anybody.
Street: You can go a couple days without seeing anyone?
RP: Yeah, it’s fine, it’s chill.
Street: Do you think that’s something that other engineers experience?
RP: I feel like that’s pretty common of all of us.
Street: Solitary Engineering confinement. Kind of sad.
RP: It’s not sad, it’s okay, but you have to be able to handle it. I can handle it.